Archbishop Shelton — his first year

Clergy of the Archdiocese of Louisville applauded during the Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre’s Mass of Installation at the Kentucky International Convention Center March 30. (Record File Photo by Marnie McAllister)

March 30 marks the one-year anniversary of Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre’s installation as the 10th Bishop and fifth Archbishop of Louisville.

In his first year, Archbishop Fabre met parishioners and priests, visited school children, ordained men, served the hungry, traveled to Rome and addressed questions of racism.

Before he was appointed to lead the Archdiocese of Louisville, he led the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux in southern Louisiana, some 60 miles southwest of New Orleans.

Archbishop Fabre’s first year has focused on getting to know the people and priests of the archdiocese. He celebrated 11 regional welcoming Masses — that took him from the city’s West End to the East End and into parishes around the archdiocese. Those liturgies ended with long lines of parishioners eager to meet and welcome him.

Archbishop Fabre celebrated the first of these Masses on May 3 at St. Augustine Church — an historic African American parish on West Broadway. 

Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre greeted Doris Logan in St. Augustine Church’s parish hall on West Broadway following Mass May 3. Carol Belser looked on. The liturgy was the first of 11 regional welcoming Masses the archbishop celebrated during his first year. (Record File photo by Ruby Thomas)

He told those who’d gathered at St. Augustine for the evening liturgy that it was a “privilege to walk into the historic African American parish as the first African American Archbishop of Louisville.” He went on to say during the Mass that it was a “real joy to have been sent here to serve the church here in the Archdiocese of Louisville, a church rich in culture, a church enriched by European, African American, Latino, Native American, Asian” cultures.

And he’s had the opportunity to meet parishioners from varying cultural backgrounds. As he celebrated a regional welcoming Mass at St. Rita Church May 16, his homily was translated into Spanish for the Hispanic and Latino listeners by pastor Father Mike Tobin. 

Over the course of the year, he’s also visited schools where he’s read to children and held conversations with high schoolers. He helped serve hundreds of homeless and hungry individuals at the Franciscan Kitchen on Memorial Day.

Archbishop Fabre has ordained one man to the priesthood and five men to the transitional diaconate.

He traveled to Rome March 2 to 10, where he met with seminarians in formation at the  Pontifical North American College. There, he delivered the 24th annual Father Carl J. Peter lecture on the topic “Preaching Against Racism.”

Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre greeted Pope Francis during his recent trip to Rome, March 2 to 10. During this trip, Archbishop Fabre also visited the Pontifical North American College. There, he delivered the 24th annual Father Carl J. Peter lecture on the topic “Preaching Against Racism.” (Photo Special to the Record by Vatican Photo Service)

Archbishop Fabre has also preached against racism in the Archdiocese of Louisville. On March 1, he delivered opening remarks at the archdiocese’s first Racism Symposium and led close to 200 people — including high school students, pastors, educators and archdiocesan staff — in reciting the Act of Contrition. Archbishop Fabre said to those gathered that day that “None of us are perfect, but we can continuously be learning and understanding what it means to be a neighbor to someone racially different from me … to see their wounds and to bind those wounds up.”

That same day, Archbishop Fabre spoke to about 100 people at St. Bernadette Church about “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love — A Pastoral Letter Against Racism.” He told those who’d gathered that to eradicate the sin of racism, society needs to not only enact just laws but also have a conversion of heart. 

Ruby Thomas
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Ruby Thomas
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